The campaign to promote veganism by exposing the destructive reality of the animal agriculture industry.

Wayne Hsiung: We won the right to rescue Lily and Lizzie; Here’s how it went down on the last day in court

0

I thought about Lily and Lizzie. I thought about the moment of desperation when I saw each of them struggling at the bottom of a farrowing crate. I thought of the relief I felt, when we brought them back from the vet. And I thought about how beautiful and vibrant they were, when I last visited them a few months ago at a beautiful sanctuary. Happy and free, the way we’re all meant to be.

WAYNE HSIUNG: Over the last few months, I’ve re-organized my entire life in preparation for incarceration. In an off-the-record hearing a few months ago, Judge Jeffrey Wilcox implied to our attorneys that Paul and I were obviously guilty, and that if we did not accept a plea bargain, we should be prepared to be imprisoned. He issued ruling after ruling that undercut our constitutional right to mount a complete defense, or even tell the story of our prosecution to the public. And, on the first day of trial, he contradicted his own prior order in effectively barring us from scrutinizing the jurors for bias…

Winning an open rescue case is already extraordinarily difficult. I’m not aware of a single case in animal rights history where an activist has been outright acquitted. Adam Durand’s prosecution in the mid 2000s, which led to a 6-month sentence that stunned the movement, effectively chilled the movement for open rescue. And my case was not only facing a difficult judge, but the full power of the American government. Dozens of FBI agents, state investigators, and even the state attorney general were involved in this prosecution; with that much investment, they would expect, not just a conviction, but significant consequences for the defendants. They would expect the movement for open rescue to be shut down…

My main goal, over the last few months, has been to prevent that from happening… My hope in all of these efforts was that my incarceration would fuel the movement, rather than chill it. And now, unexpectedly, against all my expectations, I am not in prison. I’m free…

It was a great surprise to me that, when we arrived in the courtroom [for the verdict], the bailiff had a smile on his face. It was as if he knew something we didn’t know, like a winning lottery ticket he had sold us. And it was a stark contrast with the stone-faced seriousness with which he had looked out into the gallery for the entire trial.

The jury themselves, however, still had their poker faces. I thought I caught a hint of a smile from one juror, a photogenic woman in her 50s with straight blonde hair. But the others seemed serious, perhaps even a little angry. Dean and I both later said that we assumed that their grim demeanors surely meant that they intended to convict.

But when the jurors handed over their verdict forms, the judge said something odd: “Now I want everyone to stay calm and be silent” … When the verdict was read, my mind was slow to process. I had been preparing so long for the opposite word – GUILTY – that I don’t think I quite understood what was happening. (I still don’t, really.) The rational part of my brain kept telling me, “You won! This is historic!” But the emotional centers of my mind were slow to respond.

“Why aren’t you happier?” I whispered to myself. “Is this really happening, or is this a dream?” Even after we left court, I didn’t smile… I went back into court, and started hugging our supporters. Only 10 of them were allowed in court. And they were smiling, crying, and almost jumping up and down. But I still wasn’t really getting it. I kept thinking to myself, “What’s the next step in the trial?” And I kept reminding myself. “There is no next step. Dummy, you’ve won.”

It was not until I walked out of the courtroom, to a cheering crowd, that I began to realize what was happening… Walking towards Rocky, I’m still sort of confused. I wander towards him, with a robotic attempt at an embrace, as if I’m at a dinner party and have to give a friend an obligatory hug. It wasn’t until I felt his embrace, and heard him scream out “Oh my god!” that I finally broke out into a real smile. “We did it,” I thought to myself. “We really did it. We won.”

I thought about Lily and Lizzie. I thought about the moment of desperation when I saw each of them struggling at the bottom of a farrowing crate. I thought of the relief I felt, when we brought them back from the vet, and after many long days and hours, they finally started to eat. And I thought about how beautiful and vibrant they were, when I last visited them a few months ago at a beautiful sanctuary. Happy and free, the way we’re all meant to be…

And then I finally started to realize what had just happened. I started laughing in joy – a very special kind of laughter and joy. One that you can only feel when you’ve been on the other side – in the darkness and despair – just a few moments ago. It’s a joy I felt in court when the jury gave me my freedom. But it’s the same joy I felt, even more powerfully, when we brought Lily and Lizzie back from the brink. “Let’s get on to the next rescue,” I said in my mind… “There’s more joy in this world to be made”. SOURCE…

RELATED VIDEO: